Keller @ Large: Punish Rowdy Students, Not Landlords

BOSTON (CBS) – It’s that time of year again, the annual return of the college students, and if you live in a building or a neighborhood with student rentals in it, you know what that can mean all too often — ridiculous noise pollution at all hours, with no respect for the neighbors and no hope of mitigation.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

No, not all students who come here think it’s OK to scream their lungs out on the sidewalk at 3 a.m. on a work night, blast their stereo at top volume at all hours, and use the streets and your yard as their personal garbage dump.

But enough do to make this a dreaded time of year for many of us.

Over in Somerville, which has a ton of student apartments, a local alderman is trying to crack down on this type of disruptive behavior.

By imposing new fines on the troublemakers, or adding beef to the city’s law enforcement?

No, by lowering the boom on absentee landlords who rent the space to the perps.

“The proposed ordinance is a common-sense approach,” says the alderman in a statement published by the Globe.

“It is incumbent on the City of Somerville to create useful mechanisms that encourage landlords to aggressively address tenant issues.”

Excuse me?

I have no sympathy for negligent landlords who let their properties become rundown havens for illegal behavior of any kind.

But what exactly is a responsible landlord supposed to do to avoid the new liability they want to impose?

Any rowdy tenant who knows the eviction laws will laugh in the face of a landlord who tries to use that as a threat to stop a problem.

It’s easier, quicker and cheaper to build an ark and sail out of town than it is to evict a tenant in Massachusetts.

I appreciate the concern here, but may I make a suggestion?

Go to the source of the issue, the entitled cretins who don’t know how to behave.

Empower the cops to heavily fine them or throw them in the lockup to the point where even they will get the message.

Now that seems more like common sense to me than blaming someone who isn’t even there when the howling starts.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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